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HQ 956049

July 26, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 956049 LTO


TARIFF NO.: 8703.23.00

Mr. Donald Harrison
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
1050 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036-5306

RE: Four-door motor vehicle; heading 8704; HQ 082729; HQ 083433; HQ 083628; HQ 086170; HQ 955607

Dear Mr. Harrison:

The is in response to your letter of March 11, 1994, requesting the classification of a four-door motor vehicle under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The article in question is a four-door motor vehicle with seating for six or seven passengers. The side doors are passenger- style hinged doors, while the tailgate is hinged at the top. The vehicle is powered by a 2.2-liter, fuel-injected, 16-valve, gasoline engine (2,156 cc). It is available only in a 4-speed automatic transmission.

The vehicle's suspension is stated to be designed for the comfort of the driver and passengers. The body type is unit body designed, and the suspension is a 4-wheel double wishbone type. Other features include power rack-and-pinion steering, 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS, 15 inch wheels and driver and passenger side airbags.

Exterior features include a rear or front fender-mounted power antenna, rear window wiper/washer, dual power mirror and body side molding. Interior features include air conditioning, cut pile carpeting throughout the floor area, rear seat heater vents, power windows, power door locks, grab rails for all outside passengers, stereo cassette radio, cruise control, seat belts in all three rows - 2 -
of seats, headrests, adjustable steering column, quartz digital clock, driver's and passenger's vanity light, front and rear door pockets, rear window defroster with timer, etc. The seating arrangement is as follows: bucket seats for the driver and front passenger, a second row of seating (either split-bench seat for three persons or bucket seats for two persons) and a third row folding bench seat for two additional persons.

The vehicle's usable cargo volume (cu. ft. rear seat up/down) is 9.8/46.1. The vehicle measures 111.4 inches in wheelbase, 187.2 inches in length, 64.76 inches in height, 70.5 inches in width and has a curb weight of approximately 3,465 pounds.


Whether the four-door motor vehicles are classifiable as motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons under heading 8703, HTSUS, or as motor vehicles for the transport of goods under heading 8704, HTSUS.


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) to the HTSUS govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1 states in pertinent part that "for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes . . . ."

The headings at issue are as follows:

8703 Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons (other than those of heading 8702), including station wagons and racing cars

8704 Motor vehicles for the transport of goods

An examination of the vehicle's integral and auxiliary design features indicate that it is principally designed to transport persons. The vehicle has four, passenger-style, hinged doors. In addition, the vehicle offers numerous amenities for the rear-seat passengers, including beverage holders, seatback pockets behind the front passenger, arm rests for the second-row outside passengers, rear door pockets and grab rail grips for outside passengers, rear area air conditioning, full carpeting throughout the floor area and windows on the side panels and rear door. Further, the vehicle can seat up to seven passengers in seats with seat belts and, in the first two rows, rear headrests.

These features indicate that the rear section of the vehicle in question was designed principally for passenger use. See HQ 083628, dated June 6, 1989 (Volkswagen Vanagon); HQ 083433, dated December 18, 1989 (Ford Aerostar); HQ 082729, dated March 14, 1990 (Mazda MPV passenger van); HQ 086170, dated March 22, 1990 (Volkswagen T-4); HQ 955607, dated April 15, 1994 (Volkswagen EuroVan Camper). Accordingly, the vehicle is classifiable under subheading 8703.23.00, HTSUS.


The four-door motor vehicle is classifiable under subheading 8703.23.00, HTSUS, which provides for motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, with spark-ignition internal combustion reciprocating piston engine, of a cylinder capacity exceeding 1,500 cc but not exceeding 3,000 cc. The corresponding rate of duty for articles of this subheading is 2.5% ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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